‘Golden Bomber’ leaves door open to coaching China

By Wang Huayun Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/15 20:09:08

German soccer legend Jurgen Klinsmann during an interview on Sunday in Beijing Photo: Yu Tianjiao/GT

German soccer legend Jurgen Klinsmann said Chinese ­coaches should figure out a path that suits their own youth, when asked to give some technical suggestions to young Chinese players during an interview on Sunday in Beijing. 

The former striker, nicknamed "The Golden Bomber" due to his blonde hair and predatory goal scoring nature, was in China as an ambassador of the Bundesliga to promote the German top flight in the world's most populous nation.

Chinese media has tipped the 54-year-old as a prospect to be the next head coach of the men's national team. Guangzhou Evergrande manager Fabio Cannavaro has been the caretaker coach since Marcello Lippi left in January. But the former Ballon d'Or winner's chance of taking the job on a permanent basis has been frowned upon by fans and pundits alike after the team's poor performance in the 2019 China Cup last month on home soil. Even Cannavaro himself was not sure about his future, saying at the time he didn't know if he could continue coaching the team.

German soccer legend Jurgen Klinsmann during an interview on Sunday in Beijing Photo: Yu Tianjiao/GT

Klinsmann kept fans guessing when asked about the possibility of him coaching China. 

"You never know what will happen," the German was quoted as saying by the Beijing Youth Daily. "But when you make a decision, you need to have enough information, make lots of preparations. This is the first time for me to visit Beijing and I'm not familiar with Chinese culture."

But he added that he had never imagined he would coach Germany, Bayern Munich or the US - the three teams Klinsmann has managed after hanging up his boots. 

"So we don't know what will happen in the future," he said. "Let's just wait. Time will tell."

German soccer legend Jurgen Klinsmann during an interview on Sunday in Beijing Photo: Yu Tianjiao/GT

He refused to comment on the development of Chinese soccer on Monday, saying he does not know the levels of Chinese coaches and players because he does not live here.

Klinsmann had dinner with officials of the Chinese Football Association and the General Administration of Sport Thursday night, according to soccer commentator Dong Lu. "The two sides are seriously mulling over the possibility of cooperation." 

Despite leading hosts Germany to a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup, Klinsmann declined to renew his contract, feeling "tired" and wanting a "distance" from soccer. 

After two years' rest he took the reins at German giants Bayern Munich in July 2008, but lasted just eight months before being sacked in the coming April. 

German soccer legend Jurgen Klinsmann during an interview on Sunday in Beijing Photo: Yu Tianjiao/GT

In July 2011 he was named head coach of the US men's national team, and led the Americans to the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup. He was fired in November 2016 and has not returned to coaching since then.   

Klinsmann enjoyed an illustrious career during his playing days across Europe. He played for several prominent clubs including Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and Bayern Munich, scoring a total of 232 goals in club competitions. He was part of the West German team that won the 1990 World Cup and the unified German team that won Euro '96. One of the premier strikers in the 1990s, he scored in all six major ­tournaments he played in, from Euro '88 to World Cup '98.

Photo: Courtesy of PP Sports

Even Klinsmann does not have an answer for one of ­soccer's eternal debates. 

When asked whom he would pick if he could add Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to his team, the German burst into laughter before telling Global Times that he would choose both and said it's "impossible" to pick a better one between the two megastars. But he joked that he would like to see Messi win the next World Cup, because Ronaldo "has won the European Championship."


Newspaper headline: Time will tell, says Klinsmann


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